Tag Archives | Cameras

Lytro: Like No Camera You’ve Ever Seen Before

Back in June, Silicon Valley startup Lytro announced it was working on a consumer light-field camera, using a technology that captures 3D light. Among the amazing-sounding benefits: It lets you focus blurry pictures or change the depth of focus after you’ve shot them.

At the time, the company showed off photos and talked technology, but didn’t release any real details about the camera itself. Now it has, at a San Francisco press event led by Lytro founder Ren Ng. That’s him showing off his brainchild in the photo I took above.

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Polaroid Cameras Are Back! Briefly!

Saved PolaroidI never expected to write as much about Polaroid cameras as I have at Technologizer, but the little guys continue to make more news than some gadgets which are still in production. Dazed Digital is reporting that the Polaroid preservers at The Impossible Project have saved 700 old-stock One600 cameras and will be selling them, along with film, through Urban Outfitters stores, starting tomorrow. (Urban Outfitters’ outlets may be primarily devoted to funky clothing and household knickknacks, but they’ve developed an entertaining sideline selling exotic, retro film cameras such as the Diana, making them a more logical venue for Polaroid sales than a real camera store–they already sell Fuji’s modern instant camera.)

Urban Outfitters will also have some additional old-stock Polaroid film on hand, but if you buy a One600 you’re buying into a format that’s already defunct. (The Impossible Project is trying to restart production of instant film–I wish them luck, but they named themselves appropriately.) Despite that, I’m tempted to pick one up tomorrow. No word on how much they’ll go for.

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Nikon’s Projecting Camera: It’s Showtime!

Nikon S1000PJNikon announced four new point-and-shoot cameras today, one of which has a truly striking feature: a built-in projector. The $429 Coolpix S1000pj uses picoprojector technology to cast images through its lens, letting you display single images,  slideshows, and movie clips at sizes up to 40 inches.

It’s the first point-and-shoot that projects, and the tech does sound like it’s still in bleeding-edge territory: The S1000pj shoots images at up to 12.1 megapixels (4000 by 3000 pixels), but it projects them at VGA (640 by 480) resolution, and Nikon rates battery life at one hour. But it’s still exciting to see projection start to work its way into reasonably inexpensive and compact consumer devices, and it’ll be fascinating to see whether it becomes commonplace in other cameras, phones, laptops, and other gadgets anytime soon.

Would you be tempted to buy the S1000pj over a comparable camera with no projection feature? Will you wait for second- or third-generation passes at the idea? Does the idea appeal to you at all?


The Unexpected Return of Instant Photography

Back in February, the modern-day Polaroid company announced that it was ceasing production of instant film, thereby bringing an end to the business that made Polaroid Polaroid. It was a sad day for what was once one of the coolest consumer technologies going, and when I blogged a heartfelt tribute a lot of folks chimed in with their own memories.

Polaroid photography is, I’m sorry to say, still dead. Permanently, probably. But I’m tickled to report that instant photography is back, in the form of Fujifilm’s Instax 200 camera. Yup, a camera of the sort that takes film and spits out photos that develop as you watch.

Fuji says that its heard from police officers, real estate agents, healthcare providers, and others who have grown panicky over the dwindling supplies of Polaroid film, and so the company is rolling out the Instax in the U.S. for the first time. Fuji’s system isn’t Polaroid-compatible, but it’s very much Polaroidesque. The camera is $69.99; a 20-pack of film is $28.99. Both will be available in December.

I’m curious just what sort of  cops, realtors, and doctors are still using  Polaroid cameras, and whether they have rational explanations for ignoring the digital photography revolution which has been underway for a decade or so. If they’re merely hardcore luddites, that’s okay with me. But I was reminded of one virtue of instant photography recently when I had a passport photo taken: The photographer used a digital camera, and it took him ten minutes to download the photo, process it, and print it out. For all of digital photography’s profound usefulness, it’s not as instant as instant photography is.

One side note: Fuji’s Instax announcement comes just days after Japan’s Tomy announced a digital camera with a built-in photo printer. The Tomy product sounds intriguing–but it’s no more magical than the original instant camera that Polaroid founder Edwin Land released back in 1948. This is probably sacrilegious in the extreme, but I think it’s possible that Dr. Land would be happy to know that Fuji revived instant photography after Polaroid did its best to bump it off.